Herrington Lake bridge, Brannon Road extension among Central Kentucky projects in state road plan

gkocher1@herald-leader.comFebruary 2, 2014 

A major bridge replacement over Herrington Lake is just one of several projects included for the counties around Lexington in the state's six-year road plan.

Replacing the Kennedy Mill Bridge between Mercer and Garrard counties is listed as a priority project. Construction is supposed to start in 2016 and continue into 2017. The plan includes $14 million for the project.

Traffic will continue to use the existing bridge as the new bridge is built, said Natasha Lacy, spokeswoman for the District 7 Department of Highways Office in Lexington. Once the new bridge is built, the old bridge will be demolished.

For Jessamine County, the plan includes $2.5 million for the design of a connector road from U.S. 27 north of Nicholasville to the Ky. 627 interchange at Interstate 75 in Madison County.

No money for construction of the four-lane connector road is included in the plan. And the $10 million for purchase of rights of way and $3 million for utilities relocation comes in future budget years.

Consulting engineers have identified four possible routes that might be suitable for the proposed connector. The routes all start on the as-yet-unbuilt Eastern Bypass that would skirt around Nicholasville's east side. The routes would cross the Kentucky River to terminate on I-75 in northern Madison County.

The state Transportation Cabinet said Friday that engineers would conduct traffic studies in Jessamine and Madison counties during the coming weeks as part of a preliminary design and environmental study. That study is to be finished this year.

The state doesn't have money for construction of the first sections of the East Nicholasville Bypass, including the interchange at U.S. 27 North, but those sections are listed in the plan.

The road plan also includes $5.1 million to reconstruct the Y intersection of Ky. 29 north of Wilmore. That includes $1.5 million for rights of way this year, $600,000 for utilities in 2015, and $3 million for construction in 2016.

Extending East Brannon Road eastward so it connects with Tates Creek Road is listed as a "high priority" project in the plan. Some $14 million in construction is listed for 2016 to extend the road beyond where it ends at Lauderdale Drive.

Making improvements to Brannon Road from U.S. 68 to U.S. 27 will come in future budget years. The state lists $12 million in construction improvements for the twisting, undulating road in fiscal year 2019.

Minor projects for Jessamine include replacement of a bridge over Hickman Creek on Ky. 39, adding turn lanes at West Jessamine High School and East Jessamine Middle School, and making downtown drainage and street improvements in Wilmore. All those projects are to be done in 2014.

A high priority project for Madison County is construction of another section of the Berea Bypass from east of U.S. 25 to Ky. 21. The plan includes $17.5 million for construction this year.

An additional $27.5 million is included to relocate and realign Ky. 52 from Wallace Mill Road to the Duncannon interchange on I-75. Some $11 million of that is included for rights of way this fiscal year; the money for utilities relocation is in 2015.

Other minor projects in the plan for Madison County include nearly $432,000 for a traffic study for the intersection of Berea's Main Street with the Berea College campus, $215,463 to improve Prospect Street pedestrian access, and to widen U.S. 25 from U.S. 421 north to Ky. 876. Those projects are all scheduled for 2014.

In Clark County, the biggest project is to extend the Winchester East Bypass (Ky. 1958) from Irvine Road (Ky. 89) to Ky. 627 south of Winchester. More than $24 million is budgeted for construction in 2016.

Widening about 2 miles of Ky. 89 will cost $6.4 million in rights of way, utilities relocation and construction, all to be done in 2014 and 2015. The plan includes money for the design of widening six other sections of Ky. 89; all of that design work is to be done in 2014.

Erecting a four-way traffic control signal at U.S. 60 and Breeze Hill Drive also is scheduled for 2014 as well. Installation of mast arm poles for traffic signals in downtown Winchester is also scheduled for 2014.

Future budget years include money for reconstruction of the Interstate 64-Mountain Parkway interchange that will add new ramps to and from the east. That is expected to cost more than $14 million.

In Scott County, a high priority project is construction of a new I-75 interchange and approach roadway from Champion Way to Cherry Blossom Way in Georgetown. The plan includes $500,000 for design and $35 million for construction. The work is scheduled for 2015.

Rights of way and utilities relocation is slated for 2015 to extend the Georgetown Bypass from Ky. 32 East to I-75. The plan includes $14.7 million for construction in 2017.

Other Scott projects include replacement of a bridge on Ky. 1689 over LeComptes Run, replacement of a bridge on Fields Road over a railroad at the Scott-Harrison county line, and the widening and improvement of shoulders on Ky. 620.

The most significant Woodford County project that the plan addresses is the design, rights-of-way purchase and utilities relocation of the Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor, a road that would go from Falling Springs Boulevard and around the west side of Versailles to U.S. 60 and Midway Road. Those elements would cost $9 million and be done from 2014 to 2016.

Construction of the road, which would cost $30 million, is scheduled for 2017.

The road has been a source of controversy, with some citizens opposing the idea in the mid-2000s. But supporters said that if residents on the south side of Versailles don't have better access as they travel north to Frankfort, it will mean more congestion for downtown Versailles.

The Versailles City Council passed a resolution last year expressing support for the corridor.

Burgess & Niple, an engineering firm, has begun work on a study that would look at various alignments for the road, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said.

Other Woodford projects in the plan are the replacement of a bridge on Grier Creek Road just west of Scotts Ferry Road; replacement of the Weisenberger Mill Road bridge at the Woodford-Scott county line, scheduled to be done this year; and improvements to Ky. 169 near the entrance to Boyd's Orchard.

In Mercer County, the road plan includes $1.2 million in 2014 and 2015 to reconstruct 1.5 miles of U.S. 68 from the top of the Palisades to Chinn's Curve, a treacherous spot between the Kentucky River and Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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